NewEnergyNews: THE POLITICS OF THE PRESIDENT’S CLIMATE FIGHT

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    Thursday, January 24, 2013

    THE POLITICS OF THE PRESIDENT’S CLIMATE FIGHT

    Environmentalists want Obama to steer clear of Congress on climate change

    Dan Merica, January 23, 2013 (CNN)

    “Environmental advocacy groups hope President Barack Obama will live up to the words of his second inaugural address that put climate change front and center on the national agenda…But the same advocates, including the Sierra Club and the Natural Resources Defense Council, say the president should use the power of the executive branch to further those aims rather than pursuing a congressional strategy.

    “Melinda Pierce, legislative director for the Sierra Club, pushed the president to focus more on executive orders and regulations from the Environmental Protection Agency than on legislation…Eric Pooley, senior vice president of the Environmental Defense Fund…[said] the White House understands that…legislation is not the only way to make progress….[Executive actions could include] curbing carbon emissions among existing power plants, not just new plants, and mandating high efficiency standards to larger trucks and longer haul vehicles.”

    “…[Such] actions are similar to what Obama pushed for during his first term…In 2011, the EPA issued new standards on toxic pollutants and mercury emissions from coal power plants. Obama also finalized regulations requiring that passenger cars and trucks nearly double their fuel efficiency by 2025…Bob Keefe, spokesman for the Natural Resources Defense Council, said Obama's first term was successful on environmental issues because of those actions…[though] he would have liked to have seen more…

    “In a lengthy paragraph in his [inaugural] address…[Obama said his administration would] respond to the threat of climate change…[and follow the] path towards sustainable energy sources…The president made little mention of climate policy in his 2012 campaign and outlined little, if any, specific climate policy plans for his second term...Energy Department loan and grant programs for developing advanced energy technologies, were used against him…It wasn't until Superstorm Sandy, an extraordinary confluence of powerful weather systems, devastated coastal New York and New Jersey in late October that the issue of climate change made an impact on the political season…[Pooley expects that Obama is going to unveil more detail in [the State of the Union] speech…”

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